Why Sarah Palin Won’t Run for President in 2012 (or ever)
Love her or hate her -and those do seem to be the two choices; no middle ground for her – Sarah Palin has certainly caused a stir in the almost three years since her surprise pick as John McCain’s 2008 running mate. The tea party, the Democrats, the mainstream (and slightly out of mainstream) Republicans, and of course the pundits, have debated whether she will throw her hat into the ring for the 2012 Presidential campaign. Here is why that isn’t going to happen.
1) She might win. Okay, that seems about as likely as winning the lottery. But hey, for the sake of argument, let’s say it could happen. Why would that keep her from running? It’s rather simple, really. In the unlikely event that Sarah Palin wins the 2012 Presidential election, Sarah Palin would have to govern. Yep, she would actually have to take responsibility for the still greatest country on the planet. Keep in mind that this is a person who needed help to run a town smaller than my city apartment building, quit her plum job on the Alaska Oil & Gas Commission (which decides how to spend all those royalty checks), and then quit halfway through her job as Governor of a state with a population about the size of Washington DC. No, Sarah Palin does not want to to have to actually take on the toughest job on earth.
2) She might lose. This scenario is more likely. Again, why is that a problem? Last time there were about two dozen people who ran for President and all, except one, lost. Presidential elections offer two chances to lose – the primaries and the general election. Recent polling has shown a dramatic drop in her favorability ratings. That’s a problem (see Item 4). If she won the Republican primary it would have to be with tea party support, which would pretty much scare the living daylights out of Independents and probably result in the biggest voter turnout in two centuries for the Democratic party. I just don’t think she will take a chance that she might lose.
3) The debates. As the Vice-Presidential candidate in 2008 she had one debate, against “Say it ain’t so, Joe” Biden, whose entire goal was to not turn off the disgruntled Hillary Clinton women voters by coming on too strong to Palin. Not so much a piece of cake for the Republican primary debates. There will be several, perhaps even many. With likely a dozen fellow Republicans all wanting the job. A certain Mitt Romney, who will rightly see 2012 as “his year” (as in, “he makes it now or he goes back to the day job), isn’t likely to let her get away with snarky one-liners. Romney, and all the rest, will ensure that her inability to formulate a coherent and informed thought on any issue will get center stage. I don’t see her putting herself through that experience.
4) Celebrity. Let’s face it, Sarah Palin likes being a celebrity. She did the whole Miss Alaska pageant thing and pretty much has been playing to the audience since that time. Since her sudden emergence into the national spotlight as John McCain’s running mate in 2008, Palin has done two book tours, had a “reality series,” and tweeted and Facebooked her way into the news cycle virtually every night. Her Q Score is through the roof. She certainly can rile the base, but also rile the opposition. The ability to do both is why the MSM (which she lovingly calls Lame Stream Media) loves talking about her – love her or hate her it’s good for ratings. But running a serious campaign for the highest office in the land would require her to be, well, serious. And that would impact her celebrity. A while back everyone loved to talk about Paris Hilton, but not too many people would consider her for a position of responsibility. Sarah likes being a celebrity.
5) She hasn’t been to New Hampshire. Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all wonky on you. But let’s just say that Palin has done nothing to develop the ground game for the caucuses and primaries. She did make stops in Iowa and South Carolina on her book tours, but she isn’t putting together a campaign. She just isn’t going to run.
6) Power. This is a corollary to the Item 4, Celebrity. At least up until the last month or two, Sarah Palin has been one of the most powerful women in politics. Her ability to rile the base while playing the martyr was enough to push some of the tea partier types into seats in the House, the importance of which just played out in the 2011 budget sideshow we just experienced. Of course, her influence helped propel a few “I am not a witch” and “2nd Amendment solutions” candidates past sane Republicans in the primaries, thus costing the Republicans control of the Senate in 2010. So the whole power thing goes both ways. Like celebrity, Palin likes the idea of being a king or queen maker.
So Sarah Palin won’t run for President in 2012 or any other time. Polls show that even the tea party, while they might like her, wouldn’t trust her in a position of power. And most certainly the rest of the country won’t vote for her. So what she will do is continue to play the martyr as needed, go to town on Twitter and Facebook as the election gets closer, and work as many paid speaking gigs as her publicist can arrange for desperate candidates. Maybe she’ll put out another ghost-written book to pad the purse. She’ll do what she has been doing.
Or maybe not. Her video response after the Giffords shooting seems to have turned off a lot of people and her reputation is tanking like the economy did in the summer of 2008. Maybe she’ll just lay low (she has been a bit out of the news cycle the last few weeks) and enjoy her new found wealth and her family.
So look for her to finally make some sort of announcement long after it’s become obvious that she isn’t running. She’ll make the requisite deference to her family, which she isn’t running so she can focus on, and how she doesn’t want them to have to go through the scrutiny of another campaign.
By the way, that sound you hear is the rest of the Republican candidates all breathing a huge sigh of relief, as they all try to figure out how to capture those people who had lined up to vote for Palin (without turning away any Independents still on the fence).